Choosing Joy

The relentless, constant, unending, repetitive badgering.

The fighting, the yelling the screaming, the crying.

Day after day.

All hell broke loose a few minutes ago.

Sketch had just tried to go jumping on top of the van, again (his new favorite thing to do)

PolkaDot, so tired, was put in her crib. But, her favorite thing to do now is to throw her stuffed animals and pacifiers overboard and then cry because she can’t sleep without them. (Don’t you love that stage?)

I, riddled with aching joints, go to get PolkaDot, and then let Sketch out of  his time-out that he earned by kicking PolkaDot because she was sitting on the floor instead of being held by me.

“Hold the baby?”

Here we go again.  Twenty-four seven, he wants me to hold the baby.

I walk in to the computer room to text Mr. Incredible and see when he’s coming home. We’re supposed to be packing for a trip and getting ready for PolkaDots 1st birthday.

Sketch follows me.  Polkadot is nestled in the chair with me as I tap on the keyboard.

“Hold the baby? Log-in window?”  He demands.  Again.

He is pretty much OCD about all computers being on the log-in window screen unless he’s playing with it.

“Not right now, Sketch.”

He continues to badger.

PolkaDot pulls herself up to her feet, and before I could blink my eyes, she landed with a thud, right on the side of her face.


Uncontrollable sobs.

“Hold the baby!  Log-in window!”

I send Sketch back to his room.

PolkaDot continues to scream, her body thirsting for comfort.

This is how it’s been for most of the summer.  Unending.

We’ve had great moments in between the mind-boggling chaos.

It would be so easy to focus on all the bad things.  All the This-Is-Too-Much-ness of it all.

But, to focus on that would be the beginning of an unending darkness.  The “pit of despair” as it’s described in The Prince Bride  .

So I choose after my own tempter tantrum instead, to focus on the the good things; to “Choose Joy” as Sherry Surratt talks about in her article I Choose Joy from MomSense Magazine’s Summer 2012 edition. She says:

“It’s so human to get caught up in what’s wrong, what’s broken, what’s missing and to be crabby about it.  But here’s what I know:  God wants me to choose joy. Contentment is my daily opportunity if only I’ll slow down and notice the good things.”

I really believe this is the secret to handling the impossible:

.         To Believe that all things are possible for those who love God.

        It is too hard by myself, but with God, I can do anything.

.        To Believe that every good and perfect gift comes from the Father.

        It isn’t a coincidence.

.        To Believe that God is there helping me, teaching me to see the positive.

        He whispers in my ear, which way to go.

.        To know that God is showing me,  pointing out to me,  the lovely, beautiful, good things that he as placed all around me.

        He opens my eyes to see.

So I choose be grateful, to be thankful for all that He’s given me.

        When I do that, I see that the weight of all those good things is by far, heavier than all the bad.

Psalm 30:11

“You turned my wailing into dancing;
 you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy”


Mothers Day in a Spectrummy Kinda Way

What a day!  I was just starting to wake this morning, with the gentle breeze blowing the sheers in the window along with the yellow rays of sunlight, when my dear Princess Buttercup enters the room.  Perfect timing.  She carried a silver tray with a heirloom coffee pot full of that wonderful, favorite dark roast blend, full-caffiene coffee that I love, mixed with perfect dashes of cream and sugar.

On the tray was also a wonderful breakfast with freshly baked muffin, freshly picked berries from the garden, a beautifully folded veggie omlet and home-made hashbrowns.  She’d been up for a while, it seems!  She balanced all of this on her 8 year old hand, and carried it up the stairs to me, dressed in fine lenin,  wild flowers tucked into her french braids and corsage on her wrist!  When did she learn to french braid her own hair?

Next comes Dash, the Princess’ twin brother.  He is wearing a 3 piece suit with boutonnière.  Perfectly groomed, he comes bearing gifts of various sizes.  And behind him comes the youngest little cherub, Sketch (6), also dressed formally with boutonniere.  Sketch has drawn beautiful pictures, fit for an art gallery, of sunshine and roses dancing around his family.  What a portrait!

Mr. Incredible had already fed the 3 little ones, and made sure they were all ready for church this morning.

We walk into the building beaming with the wonders of Mothers Day… the children calm and beautiful.

Lunch afterward was even better.

We went to a very expensive, fancy restaurant… Mr. Incredible had made reservations so there was no waiting.  The children sat in their chairs at the table, engaging in polite conversation as we enjoyed our meals.  A piano was being played in the background… more wonderful coffee…the atmosphere just perfect.

Once home, Mr. Incredible and I snuck in an afternoon nap as the children cleaned the house.  We woke up to sparkling floors and lemon-scent bathrooms. No dust in sight!


Ok, what really happened was more like this:

We wake up to Dash (for those who don’t know, he has autism & a heavy dose of adhd) yelling in his room because he’s frustrated with his k’nex.  He decides he’s hungry so he finds his most irritatingly fussy voice, pushes our door open and with it demands, “I’m hungry. I want some food to eat!”  Correct pronouns…but really???

This does not wake us into a good mood at all…so we tell him to go this his room and be quiet!  Waiting for a more inviting moment to get up, we listen to him continue to complain and fuss.  Giving up on that idea, I sneak downstairs to take my shower so we will have enough time for church.

Mr. Incredible makes sure to give Dash his medication for adhd so he will be easier to live with calm down and be more likely to get ready for church.

After my shower, I entertain the kids while Mr. Incredible gets cleaned up and ready for church.  This means, I sit next to Sketch (also with autism & adhd) and draw copies of DVD covers, perfectly according to his specifications, and including all the fine print, just like the past 100 times he had me do this!!!  But Sketch is happy…

Princess Buttercup is dressed in jeans and her butterfly shirt she’s worn the last few days, hair un-brushed.  Dash clothed himself in a red t-shirt and baggy jeans…hair mixed with breakfast crumbs!  At this point, Sketch is still dressed in his routine outfit of unraveling blue knit hat, and undies.

Mr. Incredible made an adorable Mothers Day video for me, with the kids all saying, “Happy Mothers Day! I love you, Mommy!”  It was very cute.   Then came some Mothers Day presents and cards.  I do have a very nice cup of coffee (k-cup style, dripped directly into a stained & cracked mug) this morning!

Finishing getting ready for church went fairly smoothly, with only one or two meltdowns.  This morning it is because Dash’s worst fear confronted him as a wasp flew into the kitchen.  Full-blown panick-stricken child of 8 tears through the house to his bedroom where he is “safe”.  We don’t see him again until it is time to load up the car…and of course, there is a bumblebee in the greenhouse right next to the car!

On the way to church, Dash concludes that he will play outside again in the winter, when it is safe because there are no bees.

Church went wonderfully.  The kids stayed in their sunday school class and no one had meltdown, and no one was kicking other children… That was sooo nice.

On the way out of church though, was another story.  Dash’s phobia of bees is worse this year. He screamed the entire way to the car because the sun was out and there may be a bee…ugh!

Besides that screaming fit,  they behaved very well at Sunday School, and we told Sketch if he was good we could go through the drive through at McDonalds (cheers from all the kids, and Sketch was truly beaming in excitement!).

Now, he (Sketch) doesn’t eat ANYTHING there, nor can he (except for a pre-packaged juice box, but he won’t drink that because it isn’t White-Grape juice, and it has to be in his Nalgene sippy cup) because of food allergies. He was incredibly excited though, because he got to listen to the drive-thru attendant talk through the speaker, and watch the entire transaction. HEAVEN!

We didn’t get lunch there, we just got some Vitamin Water… never underestimate the power of a Vitamin Water bribe!

At home I cook lunch.  Dash throws a major fit because Sketch came in the house and left the door open for a few seconds (bees could come in, you know!) so he ends up in his room to calm down.

I had bought some toaster waffles (so I didn’t have to cook) and microwave organic sausages, and pears.  Just heat & serve on Solo paper plates!  The afternoon continued as any Sunday afternoon would… a couple meltdowns, a couple defiant I-don’t-want-to screams, watching Veggie Tales, trying to sneak in a nap, cooking & dishes.

Dinner plans you ask??  Well of course!  Frozen Pizza!  Newmans Own.  Just heat & serve!


This was a typical Mothers Day for us.  Knowing we wouldn’t go out to eat today, I made things the kids would love  & enjoy (and eat without complaining) with minimal “work”.  They loved it and were very happy to have it, which makes me very happy too.  Meals can be big stressors around here, so by eliminating that for the day is very much a break for us all!  Incorporating things like drive-thru’s to make a child beam in delight is another easy thing to make the day go more smoothly and joyfully.  If I could have contained all the bees in the area today, I would have done that too!  It is because of my kids that I am given the title of Mom.  Giving them a less-stress day is just as meaningful to me as if I were relaxing on Mothers Day.

Typical days are full of stress in a house with kids on the spectrum.  Stress often leads to short tempers, and harsher-than-intended words (like this morning with Dash).

Today at church we sang a wonderful song called More Than Amazing.  In the chorus, it says, “Forgetting all my sins, You remember all your promises”.  What a wonderful thing to be reminded of:  That our God does not make his promises to us (to help, protect, love, provide, etc.) contingent on our “good behavior”.  He remembers all his promises and applies them to our lives even when we are messing up over & over again.  And you can bet your bottom dollar that enjoys giving rest to his children too!

Psalm 127:2
It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.

Isaiah 40: 29-31

29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Happy Mothers Day everyone!

The Colors of Space in the Craziness of Time

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
White space may refer to:
  • White space (visual arts), portions of a page left unmarked
    • Space (punctuation), the space between two words of text
  • Whitespace character, a computer character for the space between words
    • whitespace characters, a character class in regular expressions
  • White spaces (radio), allocated but locally unused radio frequencies
  • White space (management), an area where no one is responsible
  • Whitespace (programming language), an esoteric programming language”

I have been thinking about White Space lately, but not the kind mentioned above.

I’ve been thinking of the kind of White Space that is more like White Noise–that background static that either drives you crazy or that is so common you don’t notice it anymore…or maybe you love White Noise because it drowns out some other sounds you would rather not hear.

The White Space I am writing about relates to T-I-M-E.

That four letter word we never seem to have enough of…or do we?

One of the things I have noticed in the last few weeks (after keeping record of the blessings God pours down on me, unrestrained each day), is that there is actually a surprisingly large number of time-pockets, where things are calm and quiet. I know… dare I even say that? It may be snatched away!

But no, there always is time like this.  This White Space, lingering about waiting to be noticed…to be used, appreciated.

At our house, It looks something like this:

          (The beginning more resembles black space because that is how I feel when it happens…dark & anxious, frustrated and s-t-r-e-s-s-e-d out.)

Sketch gets home from school in a bad mood.  He asks for Veggie Tales, “King George and the Ducky” DVD and so I put it on, thinking it will calm him down.

As soon as it plays he asks for the “Introduction”.

There is no official introduction on that DVD.

Sketch says, “All done King George & the Ducky?” so I take the DVD out.

Sketch asks again for King George and I remind him we just had that on and he didn’t want it.

He asks again.

I give in, trying to avoid the impending tantrum and tell him this is the LAST time I’m putting it on.

The movie starts.  Sketch says “All Done King George? AHHH!”

And it happens.  (I suppose it had to happen, if not now then in 5 minutes..he just has to get it out of his system!)

He starts pushing me, throwing toys, trying to attack in any way.

I (eventually) get him in his room where he will calm down (after he pees on the floor, adding another to-do item to my list).

          (Now enters White Space).  There is nothing I can do at this point.  Sketch is throwing his fit and he is safe in his room.  History proves he will NOT calm down unless he is alone in his room.

But usually, at this point I will still be stressed out about the whole thing, wondering what is wrong? Why is he acting this way?  How long will it last this time? …What could I do differently?  etc.

But worrying steals away the t-i-m-e that has been handed to me to unwind, relax, enjoy.

I could stop myself once Sketch is safe and not be upset any longer.

I could be thankful for the break.  Lately when I have calmed down and refused to stew over what’s happened, that pocket of time has seemed to slow down.  It feels longer than it was.  I thank God for it…for the calm, for the space in time.

In some ways, I’m sure the time is actually longer because less is unnecessarily handed over to the black space.  But I am sure that those minutes of calm, when noticed…are actually longer.

Have you ever sat and watched a clock tick for a minute?  It seems to take forever!  But day after day those minutes tick away so fast we don’t know what happened to them.

Time slows down (at least our perception of it) when we notice.  When we are present in the moment.

Now I know there are those days when it seems like there is no White Space time…when tantrums and crisis come one after the other and there seems to be no end to it. The intensity can be so strong that it seems like the crisis has taken up way more time that it actually did… usually because of what we do with it in ourselves, during and after… the worry, the time sucked up stewing… the drainage of energy leading to less productive time after.

But the truth is that there is White Space coming. It always does, and once we recognize it and are grateful for it’s arrival, the time seems long…once noticed, time stalls a bit. Relief. Rest.

Even if the time-pocket of White Space is short… it is there.

Even if it is prematurely interrupted…it was. And, it will be again. We can always look forward to those pockets.

And I wonder, if there really is such a thing as black space.  I wonder if that black is really more like a dark purple… a royal color.  A color marking that God is there.  He promises to turn all things around for good (Romans 8:28).  He redeems everything, even what seems so dark, black to us.  If God is in it, using it for his purposes, then is it really black at all?

The Desires of Your Heart

I remember walking around the neighborhood with my then fiance’, talking about what we’d name our future children.  We had 6 names picked out, three boys and three girls.

But then we had twins…then autism, then ADHD, then another boy, and then ear infections, severe asthma, multiple food allergies, constant illness, and autism again, and ADHD again… that kinda put a damper on the thoughts of having any more children.

I had totally given up on the thoughts of more children, but I so much wanted a Rebecca Joy in my arms.  I think I may have even gone through the grieving process that this would never happen.  If anyone asked if we would have more kids, I’d always reply with a quick, “NO!”  (with the “are you crazy? We have enough going on as it is.” implied!)

We were overwhelmed enough.  It couldn’t even be thought of.

But God knew how much we wanted another child, and probably…it was Him putting that desire in our hearts.  He saw past all the rubbish, stress and insanity of our lives, and he decided to give us a baby girl after all…

Psalm 37:4 says, “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

How wonderful is that?

I had my first ultrasound this week and she (yes, the answer to Princess Buttercup’s prayers for the last 2 years have been answered with a big, “YES!”) is doing wonderfully!

Here is a picture of my little skeleton:

A final thought: From the beginning, God has had good plans for our lives, and no circumstance, no illness or disability, no evil intentions, not even Satan himself, can thwart His plan.

“Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.” Isaiah 46:9-11

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